I recently settled on the Panasonic AVCHD HDC-SD1 digicam, which received a 9 verdict in the November 2007 issue. I have now begun the daunting task of finding a software solution to edit, compress, and burn the film I shoot. As I see it, there are only two choices that support AVCHD and do what I need: Nero 8 Ultra and Pinnacle 11. But which should I pick? I want to edit the footage I shoot, keep it in high def to burn to an HD DVD disc, or compress it to a lower resolution/quality to play on a website. The more options, the better!
Actually, quite a few other applications also support AVCHD editing, including Corel Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus, Sony Vegas Studio Platinum 8, and Cyberlink PowerDirector 6. Depending on the program, you may have to buy the full version of one of these apps in order to access the AVCHD support. Software companies typically pay a third party for the codec based on the number of units sold. With many of today’s video editors, you’re prompted to activate a codec only if you need it. This saves the company (and supposedly you) cash, as the software developer pays only for the codecs its customers use.
For the most part, the editing software’s functionality will be the same whether you’re working with DV, HDV, or AVCHD content. You should make your pick based on the feature set of the application. The Doctor has not used the latest version of Vegas, but he is partial to Pinnacle’s Studio 11, which is much improved from the previous version.
Being the power-hungry person I am, I decided to build a new machine based on your Dream Machine (September 2007). I’m having two small issues connecting the Asus Striker Extreme motherboard to the Cosmos case, and I’m curious how you guys resolved them. The first issue concerns the power LED coming from the case. It’s a two-pin female connector; the motherboard requires a three-pin connector. I looked online and was able to find a store that sells a three-pin female to two-pin male power LED adapter/connector. Other people have suggested cutting the existing cable. Help?
|We separated the wires on our two-pin female connector to make it fit in the three-pin space provided by Asus’s mobo Q Connector.|
We didn’t use the Striker Extreme board; we used an EVGA 680i SLI board. The Striker Extreme makes connecting front-panel features to the mobo easy by providing Asus’s Q Connector, a small block of pins on a piece of plastic. You hook your front-panel connectors to this block and then plug it right into your motherboard. Should you need to pull the board out, all you have to do is pull the connector out as one single block.
To address the pin discrepancy with your power LED, you’ll need to remove one of the female connectors, so you can attach them independently to the mobo’s three-pin config. Use a small paper clip to pry out the plastic finger that holds in one of the female connectors. Next, plug each of the connectors independently into the Q Connector (as shown in the image) and then plug the connector into your motherboard.
Why is it that when I plug my Logitech Premium 350 USB headphones into my notebook and select Hardware and EAX for Battlefield 2, it actually sounds like EAX is working? Is this software emulation through Microsoft’s built-in USB headset drivers, or does the hardware USB soundcard actually decode EAX? And what chip is actually in these damn things? I’m about ready to rip them open to see what makes them tick.
Finally, is it possible to get hardware decode EAX 5.0 in a notebook?
You didn’t mention what operating system you’re running, but if it’s Windows Vista, there’s no hardware audio support, as Microsoft removed that feature from this “gaming” OS. What you’re getting is general audio that’s perhaps enhanced slightly by the headset’s drivers. It’s a good sound, but not a great sound. If you use analog headphones, an EAX 5.0 card does add some worthwhile nuances. For example, it will allow you to crank BF2 audio all the way to Ultra, which allows 128 simultaneous sounds. But, sadly, there are no EAX 5.0-capable audio solutions for notebooks right now. Even Creative’s X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook isn’t a true hardware X-Fi and is capped at EAX 4.0 support.
I built a nice gaming rig with an EVGA 680i motherboard and a Sound Blaster Fatality 1 XtremeGamer Professional Series soundcard. The card works great for a few hours, or sometimes a few days, then all of a sudden, for no reason at all, the sound stops working. The card and drivers still appear in the device manager. Nothing changes. Once the sound stops working, I have to physically take the card out and reinstall it, then reinstall the drivers. Have you heard of any problems with this soundcard?
The good news is that there is a known issue with the nForce 680i SLI and Sound Blaster X-Fi card. Unfortunately, neither Creative nor Nvidia has a definite solution for it. Creative officials told the Doc that the company had to resort to buying back problem machines because they could not reproduce, and thus fix, the sound issues. Most of those cases, however, were characterized by crackling, static, and distortion.
Nevertheless, there are a few steps you can take to try to eliminate the issue. First, make sure you’re running the latest drivers from Creative’s website. Second, make sure you have the latest BIOS from EVGA installed. A BIOS was released some time ago that supposedly addresses some of the X-Fi/nForce issues. You might also want to try running the card in a different PCI slot.
Remember that you must power down the system and discharge any residual power in the PSU before removing a device from inside the machine. If you are pulling the card out while the motherboard still has power to it (even if the PC is powered down), there is a chance you could damage components.
I just installed a new Radeon 2900 XT videocard. After I installed the driver and rebooted my computer, my X-Fi card stopped working. What happened, and how can I get my soundcard back?
Your soundcard hasn’t really stopped working, it’s just that your videocard has usurped its authority. Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix. But first, allow me to explain what happened: Videocards based on AMD’s Radeon 2000- and 3000-series GPUs have integrated audio capabilities, so they can output both digital video and digital audio over one cable using an HDMI adapter fitted to the card’s DVI output.
This is useful if your monitor is equipped with an HDMI port and speakers and you want to use them, or if you route your audio and video signals through an A/V receiver that has HDMI inputs and outputs. In your case, it sounds as though you’d prefer to use your X-Fi card and external speakers. If that’s so, all you need to do is open your Windows XP control panel and click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices. Next, click Sounds and Audio Devices, choose X-Fi from the Device drop-down menu, and click OK. If you’re using Vista, your control panel choices will be Hardware and Sound, Sound, and then Manage Audio Devices. Click the Playback tab, select X-Fi, and click the Set Default button. These steps should return control to your X-Fi card.
Help! I used to be able to select all the files in a folder using Windows Vista, but I can only select one file now. What’s up, Doc?
Well, Winston, the Doctor is sad to report that Vista treats its folder themes differently than XP does. According to Microsoft, an application has added a key to the Windows registry that prevents you from selecting multiples of anything in that particular folder—no keyboard shortcuts, no drawing of mouse boxes, nothing. This likely happens on folders within a particular theme, so the Doctor wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you’re having the same issue across, say, all of your picture folders.
There are two ways to fix this: First, go to your annoying folder and select the View tab in Folder Options. Next, click the Reset Folders button. That should fix your issue, but you’ll have to go back and spiffy up your folder settings to get back the look you just nuked.
|Selecting a healthy folder and clicking “Apply to All” won’t necessarily fix problems across all your folders. Vista treats each folder type independently, unlike Windows XP.
If that doesn’t work, right-click the guilty folder and hit Properties. Then click the Customize tab and make a note of what type of folder Vista thinks it is. Go back to your desktop and make a new folder. Right-click it, hit Properties, and click the Customize tab again. Set this folder to be a different type than the annoying folder and click Apply. Then go back and set it as the same type as the annoying folder and hit OK. Now to overwrite the folder’s characteristics, click the Tools menu in Windows Explorer and select Folder Options. Click the View tab, and select Apply to Folders. That should fix your problem.
I am running Windows XP. In the directory C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data, there are Apple and Apple Computer folders. In each of those folders is a folder called Installer Cache. That Installer Cache folder contains old install files of iTunes, QuickTime, and Apple Mobile Device Support. Can I delete these without any repercussions?
The Doctor advises you to nuke these folders with extreme prejudice. They’re leftover files from the many updates of your Apple software and are wholly unnecessary for your daily software operations. And if, by chance, you ever encounter an issue with files missing from Installer Cache, just go back and reinstall iTunes. Potential problem solved.
|The Doctor can’t stand it; he knows you planned it. He’s gonna set it straight, this techy hate. He can’t stand doctoring when he’s in here, because your computer deal ain’t so crystal clear. So while you sit back and wonder why, you should be e-mailing questions to this Doctor guy: firstname.lastname@example.org|